Widespread prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease , prolonged load shedding, and planting of eucalyptus trees , by the forest department, in complete defiance to farmers’ opinion marked the deliberations at the monthly farmers’ grievances day meeting at the collectorate here on Wednesday.
A. Marimuthu, District Revenue Officer, presided over the meeting.
Farmers and representatives of various associations criticised the prolonged load shedding in the district. Farm activities have almost come to standstill due to poor water availability and load shedding has exacerbated our trouble, farmers said. The district authorities should ensure uninterrupted power supply for farm activities at least for the next two months, said Ramasamy, a farmer of Athani.
K. Manivel, State general secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasyaigal Sangam , demanded adequate compensation for the large number of cattle affected by foot-and-mouth disease. G. S. Dhanapathy, district chairman, Farmers Forum of India, said the district administration should come out with a proposal to save the crop. The initiatives taken by the district administration and the animal husbandry department to check the spreading of foot-and-mouth disease has not reached interior villages.
He said that relief for farmers covered by the crop insurance scheme last year had not reached the farmers yet, and the fate of the scheme for this year is not known yet. He also demanded that the district be covered under weather-based insurance scheme.
Mr. Dhanapathy and R. Duraimanikkam of Avudaiyarkoil said that the Dry Land Agricultural Research Station, Chettinad near Karaikudi, has recently introduced a project of spraying pink-pigmented facultative methylotrophs (PPFM) for saving rain-fed crops in Sivagangai district.
Ramatheertham of Tirumayam said that Collector had assured farmers that eucalyptus would not be raised to prevent the depletion of water table. However, the forest department is making attempts to raising eucalyptus plantations. This should be stopped forthwith , failing which farmers would launch series of agitations.
C. Appavu Balandar, district secretary, Non Political Farmers Association, demanded steps for protecting minor millets raised in Annavasal and Kunnandarkoil blocks from birds and animals.